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Sunday Drive: Elevate your commute with the 2023 Toyota Sienna XLE Hybrid

By Craig and Deanne Conover - | Nov 18, 2023
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Co-workers from the Daily Herald, from left, Carlene Coombs, Sylvia Abbott and Nichole Whiteley get ready for the drive home from the Standard-Examiner in Ogden in the new 2023 Toyota Sienna XLE Hybrid minivan.
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The new 2023 Toyota Sienna.
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The new 2023 Toyota Sienna.
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Inside the new 2023 Toyota Sienna.
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Inside the new 2023 Toyota Sienna.
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Inside the new 2023 Toyota Sienna.

We found, after a week of driving, that the 2023 Toyota Sienna XLE Hybrid is not your typical minivan. In fact, it might be time to redefine your perception of what a minivan can be. Bold, versatile and packed with family-friendly features, this Sienna variant is designed to make one’s daily commute, family road trips and even the dreaded office drives more enjoyable.

To put it to the test, Craig had the opportunity to embark on a journey with his co-workers from their office in Provo to the office in Ogden. This would be a journey that would not only test the Sienna’s capabilities but also its suitability for the everyday hustle and bustle.

Exterior: A striking first impression

The journey began, of course, with a first look at the Sienna. It was evident that Toyota has decided to shatter the conventional minivan mold with its design. The Sienna sports sleek lines, a confident stance and an aggressive front grille. It’s a striking first impression that defies the idea that minivans are bland and unexciting.

They loaded up the Sienna for their trip, with its power-sliding doors making it incredibly convenient to get everyone settled inside. With three rows of comfortable seats, this minivan was able to accommodate the group of four with ease. The rear rows could even be folded down flat to create a generous cargo space that could carry all their bags, briefcases and even a presentation board.

Interior: Versatile and comfortable

As Craig settled into the driver’s seat, he was greeted by a modern and tech-savvy interior. The cabin was filled with high-quality materials and soft-touch surfaces, with a thoughtful layout. The 9-inch touch screen infotainment system proved to be very responsive, as it integrated seamlessly with smartphones using Apple CarPlay. He queued up a favorite driving playlist, ensuring that the trip included some enjoyable tunes.

The Sienna’s captain’s chairs in the second row proved to not just be comfortable but also versatile. The “Super Long Slide” function allows those in the second row to adjust them forward or backward for more leg room or easy access to the rear.

The Sienna comes standard with a variety of family-friendly features, including a conversation mirror, which allowed Craig to keep an eye on the back seats without turning around. It’s the little details like this that make a big difference for family, or even business travel.

Performance: A blend of power and efficiency

Under the hood, the Sienna packed a punch with its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. The hybrid powertrain generated a combined 245 horsepower, which gave the Sienna more than enough power for their journey. It accelerated smoothly, merged onto highways with confidence and handled the uphill sections without breaking a sweat.

One of the most appealing aspects of the Sienna’s performance is its efficiency. It offers an exceptional EPA-estimated 36 miles per gallon combined. In fact, we drove the Sienna for 150 miles in the first four days of our test drive before the needle even moved from full, and we experienced a great 37.5 mpg average for the week.

Craig’s co-workers were able to enjoy and experience the Sienna’s serene cabin environment during the ride. The active noise-cancelling technology ensured that conversations could be held comfortably without occupants raising their voices, making it easier to catch up on work-related discussions. The ride quality was smooth and composed, with the Sienna managing to keep everyone comfortable and relaxed.

The Sienna’s lane-keeping assist system and adaptive cruise control made it easier for Craig to manage the long stretches of highway driving up the Interstate 15 corridor. With all of the co-workers in the back discussing ideas and plans, it was awesome to have the extra set of electronic eyes that help to keep the minivan in the lane and at a safe following distance.

As they approached downtown Salt Lake City, Craig had to make a quick stop to pick up one more of his co-workers near the central train station. The Sienna handled the transition from highway to city driving with ease. Its responsive steering made parking and maneuvering in tight spaces a breeze as he maneuvered in the big city.

One of the standout features of the Sienna for our trip was the rear-seat entertainment system. With a large, 11.6-inch high-definition display and two wireless headphones, it would be a game changer for any family outing. During the drive, they could watch videos, enjoy their favorite TV shows or even connect to a gaming console for some entertainment on the go.

We reached Ogden with the Sienna delivering us there smoothly and comfortably. The minivan proved to be more than just a means of transportation; it became an extension of our workspace and very well could have been a hub of entertainment during the journey.

The versatile Sienna XLE for everyday life

As our week in the 2023 Toyota Sienna XLE Hybrid came to an end, we were left with a sense of appreciation for this modern minivan. It’s a versatile and stylish vehicle that redefines family transportation. As Craig proved with his short trip, it provided a comfortable and connected space during the journey to Ogden, and it’s equally suited for the daily grind of family life and everyday driving.

From the versatile interior that easily adapts to various passenger and cargo needs to the advanced technology that would definitely keep everyone entertained and connected, the Sienna offers a seamless blend of family practicality and modern features.

The Sienna’s hybrid powertrain combines power and efficiency, delivering strong performance while keeping fuel costs down. Whether you were running errands, commuting or embarking on a family adventure, the Sienna would prove itself as a worthy companion.

Base price: $47,695

Destination charge: $1,325

Price as driven: $51,134


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